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 I had a great opportunity to attend the special lecture by Professor Joseph Nye the other day. The title of his talk was “Smart Power and the next U.S. Foreign Policy” and sponsored by the Institute for International Policy Studies(IIPS.)  I was fortunate enough to be invited, as I participated as one of the panelists at the Conference organized by the IPPS. (My paper I presented will be posted on their website soon.)  I took my three seminar students at ICS along, as I thought it would be a great opportunity for my students  to listen to such a distinguished speaker. 
  The lecture was so insightful, so inspirational, and intellectually stimulating. Professor Nye’s main message (in my understanding) included:

 1)      We need to think about power along three dimensions, and not on single dimension of military. Three dimensions were military, economic and transnational (by transnational, he meant global health, energy security, environment, issues which go beyond national boundaries)

 2)      Contextual intelligence is what is needed today. My understanding of the contextual intelligence is that we need to have an intelligence activity in certain context. Without thinking about the context (I suppose, in vacuum), we lose sight of what is going on.

 3)      Integration of soft and hard power is needed today. Prof. Nye is known for advocating the Soft power, in addition to the hard military power. I was intrigued by the notion of integrating both hard and soft power into smart power. It was so insightful.

 4)      He also emphasized the importance of Asia in the world. 

 What was so impressive about his talk was that he cited some real examples of these concepts in our own history to demonstrate that they could be actually implemented.  It was such an encouraging note, as we could reflect back our own history and say “We can do it, because we have done it before.”  It was such a powerful message to encourage us and motivate us to do something. His ideas were not just ideas or concepts, but implementable.

  Q & A session that followed was also extremely exciting. I asked a question regarding the use of ICT as the powerful medium to change the politics, as is shown by various recent examples of the U.S. Presidential election. Others asked about the importance of public diplomacy and the “change” advocated now in the U.S. presidential election.

    Prof. Nye’s responses were all so enlightening, down to earth, very easy to follow and at the same time, encouraging. I felt so motivated and felt confident that we could make things happen.

     I encountered Prof. Nye, way back in 2001, in Davos when I attended the World Economic Forum for the second time. I happened to sit at the same table at the working dinner, and I served as a reporter to report back what we discussed at our table to the larger group.  It was the first time I ever served as a reporter of such distinguished people, but I managed and had a great time. So it was quite memorable for me.

  This year in January, I also encountered Prof. Nye at one of the sessions at Davos. The topic was the “Strategy in the networked society” which was moderated by Tom Stewart of Harvard Business Review.  The session itself was interesting, but I was so impressed with the question Prof. Nye asked. He asked whether the new style of leadership would be needed in the networked society. The discussion was very interesting.

  I was so happy to be able to see Prof. Nye whom I came to respect tremendously in Tokyo. It was such a memorable night.  

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